Academic Milestones

A Resource Guide for Parents

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I hope this newsletter finds you healthy and well. We are in unprecedented times and in unique educational situations in which teachers are working remotely with even our youngest learners doing their best to keep each child growing and developing. This monumental feat is being taken on not only by teachers and students but by you the parents, guardians and caregivers. You are to be commended for your efforts each and every day!

We have all heard the saying, 'it takes a village to raise a child'' and we are certainly proving that right now. I have developed this newsletter titled, Academic Milestones, in an effort to help you guide your child through not only academic milestones, but a few self-help/independent ones as well. I will be putting out this newsletter every couple of months in hopes that you will find the information helpful as you try to guide your child through their educational journey. Oftentimes I hear from parents, “I was not aware that my child should be able to do that by now,” and this is to no fault of you! Unless you have studied in a field of child development, sometimes you don’t realize the typical child’s milestones until they are pointed out. Along with the help of my Leadership Team, which is made up of teachers and staff from each grade level and area of study, we have put together grade level specific skills for the topics of Reading, Math, Writing and Self-help/Independent skills. Following each milestone we have also included suggestions for parents to try to improve upon this skill with their child. If you find that your child continues to struggle even after the suggestions we have given, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for further support. Likewise, if you find your child has the skills listed for their grade level, look ahead to the grade levels to come to try and challenge your child in those areas that they are ready. Or, if needed, look back to see the grade level prior to be sure your child isn’t missing an underlying skill that must be developed first in order for them to be successful on grade level.

These skills are meant to show what typically developing children are able to perform at each grade level. We all know that children develop and grow at their own pace and in their own time. Don’t panic if you read this and your child is not able to do these skills. It simply means they need more exposure and practice. The intent is to make you aware and help you realize those skills that your child should be developing before they fall too far behind or end up missing foundational skills which will make them struggle later on.

Another publication which will be useful for parents will be my upcoming Creating Reading Rockstars. In this publication, I will be highlighting how you can help prepare your child for reading in the early years, support your child in the stages of learning to read and encourage your child as they tackle the shift from learning to read to then reading to learn. I will also include word lists which can be practiced at home which will expose your child to the most frequently read words in the English language. The more your child develops a love of reading, the greater their joy of school and learning will become.

I hope you join us as we continue to strive to bring each of our students to their greatest potential. If you have any questions or are in need of support, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Educationally yours,

Sarah Paquette

BES Principal

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Academic Milestones for Pre-K Children

Self-Help/Independent Skills:

Independently put on hats, mittens, coats, ski pants and boots.

Suggestions for Parents:

  • When heading outside, have your child practice putting on their outdoor gear by themselves.

  • Leave extra time for your child to be able to practice zipping their coat as well.

Reading Skill:

Recognize and identify the letters in their name.

  • beginning to recognize other letters and their sounds. For example, if shown three different letters and asked which letter makes the, /g/ sound, they should be able to point to the letter g.

  • Children should be able to answer simple comprehension questions about stories that are read to them. (ie. Where is the bear in the story? Tell me a character from the story.)

Suggestions for Parents:

  • When looking at books, magazines or even when driving around and noticing signs, have your child identify letters that they see.

  • When they know all the letters in their name, start asking about other letters that are seen.

  • Start talking to your child about the letters they see in the environment and tell them the sound they make.

  • Read daily to your child and ask questions about the story.

  • Include open ended questions such as, “Why did they do that?” or “How do you think that made them feel?“ etc.

Math Skill:

Children should be able to count with 1:1 correspondence up to 10. This means they can have a variety of objects and touch and count correctly the objects up to 10.

Suggestions for parents:

  • Have your child point to objects and count them. For example, when doing the laundry, have them point to and count the socks or when setting the table, have them point to and count the forks and spoons.

Writing Skill:

Children should start to demonstrate a 4-finger (quadrupod) or 3-finger (tripod) grasp when holding a writing utensil with their dominant hand.

Suggestions for Parents:

When first starting out with coloring and drawing, give children little broken pieces of crayons. They’ll hold the little pieces with their fingertips. Little pieces will naturally develop finger strength and the correct grip. Show children how to hold regular crayons and pencils, too.

Activities to promote proper grasp:

  • Using tongs/tweezers: use several types of tongs/tweezers and let the child pick up small objects with them such as cut up sponges, small blocks, golf tees, packing peanuts, cotton balls, etc.

  • String beads, Cheerios, Fruit Loops, etc. onto a string, pipe cleaner or wooden dowel.

  • Use a vertical surface like an easel or whiteboard or paper taped to the wall when coloring and drawing.

  • Play with play doh and silly putty using hands and fingers to manipulate the materials. Roll play doh into small balls using fingertips and squeeze using a pincer grasp (thumb and index finger).

  • Complete finger plays - "Baby Shark," "Itsy Bitsy Spider," and "Thumbkin" are great songs to work on finger isolation and fine motor skills.

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Academic Milestones for Kindergarten

Self-Help/Independent Skills:

  • Put on/zip own coat and undress

  • Be able to dress in winter clothing (ski pants, boots, mittens, etc.)

  • Learning to tie their own shoes

  • Open/close book bag

  • Open breakfast/lunch items independently

  • Washing hands

  • Cleaning up toys/materials

Suggestions for Parents:

  • Encourage your child. Set them up for success by modeling the behavior that is expected. Help them, but don't just do it.

  • Have your child attempt to zip their own coat each time before doing it for them. On the weekends when you have more time, play dress up with your child and give them opportunities to practice zipping, buttoning, snapping,etc. Remember, it may take longer for your child to do these things alone, but in the end the independence they will develop goes a long way in for not only them, but you as well.

Reading Skill:

Children love being read to and trying to read as well. They know how to hold a book, where to find the front and back of a book and how to turn the pages with care. They can identify the title of the book and know the job of the author (writer of the words) and illustrator (artist who made the pictures). They know that reading happens from left to right and top to bottom on a page.

They are developing phonemic awareness which is the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words. They can rhyme words (cat and hat) and are starting to know how many syllables they hear in each word (Fan-tas-tic = 3 syllables or parts). They can segment sounds of simple words (hat - /h/,/a/,/t/)

Suggestions for Parents:

  • Read bedtime stories each night with your child.

  • Allow your child to pick books that are of interest to them.

  • Take turns reading with your child. You read a page, they read a page. When you read aloud, point to the words on the page so they learn to follow from left to right and top to bottom of the page.

  • Have your child point to words as they are reading.

  • Reread favorite stories again and again.

  • Ask questions about stories (Who are the main characters? Why did the character do that? What do you think will happen next?) This helps teach your child how to focus and hold information in their head. It also develops the ability to have metacognition - thinking about your thinking.

  • Connect the story to your life. Make connections and comparisons.

  • When riding in the car, going for a walk, or jumping on the trampoline give your child simple words (cat, bob, pig, etc) and ask them to segment or break the word down into its individual parts (ie. cat - /c/,/a/,/t/). Also have your child practice the opposite and give them the word parts and ask them to blend the parts and tell you the word (ie. /p/,/i/,/g/ - pig).

  • Ask your child the job of the author, illustrator and tell them the names of these individuals each time you read the book.

Math Skill:

  • Recognizes numbers through 10 by sight.

  • Counts to 60

  • Knows 2 dimensional shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle, etc.), knows 3 dimensional shapes (sphere, cone, cube, prism, etc.) and can identify these shapes by name and find them in the environment.

Suggestions for parents:

  • Create flashcards for the numbers 1-10 and practice them in random order. You can place them around the house and have your child tell you the number when they see it.

  • Play card or board games that require counting and math concepts

  • Play games on

  • Count your steps as you take a walk, go up or down the stairs, count pieces of cereal,

  • Look for shapes around your house and discuss the attributes (how many sides, faces, corners, etc)

Writing Skills:

  • Can write their name properly with capitals and lowercase letters.

  • Can use proper letter formation using Fundations Writing Grid - ensure your child starts at the top and goes down when forming letters; never start at the bottom.

  • Uses ‘invented’ spelling.

  • *Invented spelling - the child uses symbols from the alphabet but shows no knowledge of letter-sound correspondences. The child may also lack knowledge of the entire alphabet, the distinction between upper and lowercase letters, and lack the left to right directionality of English.

Suggestions for Parents:

  • Practice writing their name/letters in shaving cream, sand, sprinkles, or sugar.

  • Practice writing on a dry erase board - ensure your child starts at the top and goes down when forming letters - never start at the bottom.

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First Grade

Self-Help/Independent Skills:

  • Can tie their own shoes

  • dressing in winter gear independently

  • opening lunch items independently

Suggestions for Parents:

  • There are several different approaches to teaching children to learn to tie their shoes.

    • Set aside 5-10 minutes each night for shoe tying practice.

    • Be encouraging and don’t get frustrated when it takes time.

    • After your child has tried by themself, give them support and help.

    • This is a discouraging task and simply takes practice!

  • Winter Gear:

    • Setting up a picture schedule, for order of putting on winter clothing

    • Practice using a zipper at home.

    • Problem solving if the zipper is getting stuck.

  • Opening Lunch Items:

    • Pack a lunch at home that you would typically send with your child to school. Make sure it is in their lunch box.

    • Give them time to try to open each of the containers.

    • Give help or encouragement when needed.

    • Verbally guide them through opening their food, eating neatly, and how to clean up when they are finished.

Reading Skill:

  • Reading and writing CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words and words with digraphs

  • Tips for reading at home with your child

Suggestions for Parents:

  • Listening for sounds in words - tapping out each sound.

  • Playing I-spy- (I spy with my little eye a /h/-/a/-/t/.) Your child will have to blend the sounds together to figure out the item.

  • Make a word wall at home with words that your child has learned.

  • Practice reading and writing CVC words from a list you have generated.

  • CVC Words Bingo: can be searched for online.

  • Using picture cards to create CVC words with playdough.

  • Each of these suggestions can also be used for words with digraphs (Most common digraphs: ch/sh/wh/th).

Tips for reading at home:

  • Choose appropriate books for your child to read independently.

  • Read aloud to your child.

  • Make sure your child is pointing to each word as they are reading.

  • Read favorites over and over again.

Math Skill:

  • Counting to 120

  • Writing numbers to 50

  • Addition and subtraction to 20

  • Draw pictures for math problems.

  • Use fingers to add or subtract.

Parent Suggestions:

  • Counting - counting any items around your house (food items, clothing, toys)

  • Using manipulatives for hands-on learning. Give your child items that they can move around when completing addition and subtraction problems. (cubes, counting bears, popsicle sticks, cereal pieces, etc.)

  • Use a sectioned plate and small objects to practice solving equations. Kids can count objects into different sections and move them to find the answer. This is an ideal way to teach and show the part – part- whole strategy for addition and subtraction.

  • Visible number chart or number line at home for your child to reference.

  • Board games that practice math facts.

  • Deck of cards: Turn over two cards and add the numbers that they are seeing.

  • Games with dice: Adding or subtracting.

  • Counting days of school daily during the school year.

  • blank number chart to fill in.

Writing Skill:

  • Can write simple sentences using a capital to start and punctuation at the end (period or question mark). For example, I like the big brown dog.

Suggestions for Parents:

  • Your child can keep a journal. Each night ask them to write one to two sentences about their day. Encourage proper sentence formation: capital at the beginning, punctuation at the end. Be sure they use appropriate spacing: using a "finger space" in between each written word.

  • When trying to learn what a sentence is, first have your child tell you their thought or idea verbally. Then write the thought down on paper.

  • Have your child help write the grocery list.

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Second Grade

Self- Help Skill:

  • Should be able to tie their own shoes

  • Keeping bookbag organized and clean. Bringing materials to parents from red communication folder each night.

  • navigating from one link to another in the Google Classroom

Parent Suggestions:

  • Set time aside each night for your child to bring you their materials from the red communication folder. Encourage the independence of communication and responsibility of bringing the materials to you.

  • Google how to navigate the Google Classroom

Reading Skills:

  • Children should be developing the ability to read silently to themselves for at least 10 minutes and be able to recall what they have read.

  • Comprehension of character, setting, details (story structure)

Parent Suggestions:

  • Read a book to your child.

  • Ask about who the main character is and where and when the story takes place.

  • Ask him/her to tell what happened in the beginning of the story, middle of the story, and end of the story.

  • Remind your child to think about the important parts.

  • You do not want them to tell you the whole story when they retell.

Writing Skills:

  • Writing a complete sentence with appropriate punctuation and capitalization, as well as a subject (the what or whom) and a predicate (tells something about the subject).

Parent Suggestions:

  • Give your child a writing prompt each day. For example, What was your favorite part of the school day today? or What plans do you have for the weekend?

  • You can google search "writing prompts for kids" and they will supply you with more than enough ideas.

Math Skills:

  • Fluent with addition and subtraction facts through 10.

  • Reads and solves basic word problems independently.

Parent Suggestions:

  • Flash cards (best way), Splash Learn, ABCYa

  • Start with adding zero's and ones with numbers through 20 until your child has mastered this. Then move on to adding 2's, then 3's, etc. Go one addition fact at a time and continue recycling through the known facts so they aren't forgotten.

  • Practice real-life word problems with your child when rearranging your living room furniture or buying lumber for a project. Have your child help you with these math situations.

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Third Grade

Self-Help/Independent Skills

  • Should be able to tie their own shoes

  • Organizational

  • Children should be emptying their backpacks each night and removing papers and notices from their folders.

  • Children should be packing their materials for the next day.

  • Keeping items neat and organized is a key step in helping children progress - they need to have responsibility to do this.

Parent Suggestions:

  • Work with your child at a set time each night to have them remove unnecessary items from their backpack, look through the red communication folder and have everything ready for the next morning.

  • Children should be picking up and organizing their bedrooms on a weekly basis. This sense of pride in their belongings and in their space is important and teaches them how to organize.

Reading Skills:

  • Children should be able to read a book at their reading level (see the reading level chart in this newsletter) for at least 15 minutes silently (to themselves).

  • Children should be able to answer comprehension questions related to the author’s purpose (why did they write the book - to entertain, to persuade your thinking, to inform you), the main idea and details of the story, the setting (where the story takes place), the characters (who is in the story), the problem and the resolution.

Parent Suggestions:

  • Read every day with your child, even their favorite book over and over.

  • Discuss words they may not know and how to use the words in the sentence to help figure out the meaning.

  • Look at the pictures and talk about what is happening and what they see.

  • Tell them to “create a movie” in their mind of what the story is about as you read.

  • Model reading for your child.

  • Set aside family time each day to each read your own books for 10-15 minutes.

Writing Skills:

  • Students should be able to write 5-7 sentences using correct punctuation and capitalization.

Parent Suggestions:

  • Encourage children to write and draw stories.

  • Remind them that we use a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence and for proper nouns (people's name and specific places).

  • At the end of every sentence goes a punctuation mark, either a period, question mark, or exclamation mark.

Math Skills:

  • Multiply one digit by one digit numbers fluidly and rapidly.

  • Add and subtract 2 digit numbers with and without regrouping (borrowing or carrying over).

Parent Suggestions:

  • Make learning multiplication facts fun.

  • Quiz your child in the car, making dinner, or to earn a reward.

  • is a great site for simple practicing of facts.

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Fourth Grade

Self-Help/Independent Skills

  • Should be able to tie their own shoes

  • Keeping their desk/belongings organized.

Parent Suggestions:

  • First show your child what it looks like to be organized. Start with keeping things organized in their bedroom. You could use this as a reward system; If your child keeps their bedroom neat and tidy each night or weekly, they could earn a reward such as more screen time, a family game, or a movie for example. You could even make it a competition between children or between child and parent to see who could keep their space more organized.

  • If this is too much at first, you could start with your child's bookbag and help keep everything in it organized each day. Eventually, these organizational skills will carry over into the classroom to help the child keep their space neat and organized. This will help them always know where everything is for easy access for each part of the school day.

Reading Skills:

  • Comprehension - Retell.

Parent Suggestions:

  • Children should be reading for 10-20 minutes each week night to improve their reading ability and comprehension skills. At home, ask your child basic comprehension questions to help them recall what they just read about.

  • The Five-Finger Retell is a great way to ask your child the five basic comprehension questions. Each finger stands for something different; Who are the characters in the story, what is the setting (where/when it takes place), what is the problem that the characters are facing, what are the most important events that took place, and what is the ending to the story? These comprehension questions will help your child develop this skill so eventually they will automatically do this on their own. This helps them better understand what they are reading.

Writing Skills:

  • EASE Writing.

Parent Suggestions:

  • Parents can help with the skill of EASE Writing in many ways.

  • EASE stands for Echo, Answer, Support with 2 details, and give Evidence. Parents could have their child answer any question they ask using an EASE response. This could be as simple as, "How was your day?" or "What would you like for dinner?." They could even make it into a game by giving their child a treat/or play a game (such as shooting a basketball or kicking a soccer ball into the net) each time the child answers a question using EASE. Getting their child to practice responding to questions with EASE will help them when answering questions asked in the classroom, on quizzes, or state exams thoroughly.

Math Skills:

  • Math Facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division)

Parent Suggestions:

  • Knowing math facts in fourth grade (and beyond) is extremely important to serve as a foundation for the math skills done throughout the school year. Pick a new set of facts to work on with your child each week. You could easily make these flashcards out of paper instead of buying them.

  • If your child is struggling with certain facts, continue working on them until the child has mastered them before moving on to new ones. A fun game to play to help children learn their facts is Multiplication War. All you need is a deck of cards and you would play this game like War is played. The child and the other person playing would lay a card down each face up. Each player would have to multiply the number on each card together, and whoever shouts out the correct answer first would win the cards. This is a fun way to help your child learn their facts. Children can also practice their facts using apps such as Xtra Math or Splash Math.

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Fifth Grade

Self-Help/Independent Skills

  • Should be able to tie their own shoes

  • Packing their own back packs and keeping track of their materials that travel from home to school.

  • Taking responsibility for completing nightly homework or tasks.

  • Helping around the house with chores or tasks that need to be completed for the family (helping with responsibilities).

Parent Suggestions:

  • Set a nightly routine. Have your child unpack their bag when they get home and share information with you.

  • Children should check out the lunch choices for the next day and decide what they are going to do.

  • Children should help pack their lunch and snack, fill a water bottle, and have everything ready to go for the next morning.

  • Try setting up a chore schedule for the week to develop responsibilities for your child.

Reading Skills:

  • Discuss the details of a story and supply characters and plot (comprehension).

  • Read independently for 20-30 minutes nightly.

Parent Suggestions:

  • Read nightly for 20 minutes at least.

  • Talk with your child about what they are reading.

  • Children should have conversations about their reading that will show the adults what the child is really understanding or taking away from the story.

  • set up nightly time for reading for the entire family to help model the reading.

Writing Skills:

  • Complete sentences when writing. Writing a 7-10 sentence paragraph that start with a main idea and gives supporting details throughout.

  • When answering a question being able to echo (restate) and answer using details from the text to support the answer.

Parent Suggestions:

  • Have your child write letters to relatives and friends!

  • Keeping a journal of their day is a great daily writing practice activity. You can give your child nightly prompts if needed to start them.

Math Skills:

  • Multiplication and division facts

  • Solving multi-step word problems

Parent Suggestions:

  • Flash cards at home, practice in the car when you are driving from place to place. There are apps on the chromebooks that can be used for this purpose as well.

  • see the 4th Grade section for a fun fact practice game!

  • Have your child help you solve real-life math situations as they come up at home. When doing a project or returning bottles to the redemption, have your child help.